A quality of mine that comes in handy during a portrait session, is my hyper-attention to DETAIL. Not only do I need to make sure I’m taking properly exposed and well composed images, I need to make my subject feel comfortable being photographed. On top of that, I look at where their hair is laying, their necklace and their shirt and collar.
Here’s a list of things I look for consistently during the session:
I make sure the necklace is in the center and the clasp is in the back.
If the person has bangs, I make sure they’re doing what the person wants! I would hate to have them swoop too far to one side when that’s the look they typically don’t like. Or maybe the hairs should be evenly spaced across the forehead. All very important!
If their hair is shorter in length, I look to make sure none of it is getting caught in their shirt, especially if they’re wearing a collared shirt.
I can’t stand when there are random hairs on the subject’s shoulders or caught in the shirt. I either pull smaller chunks of hair forward and push the rest back, pull a little on one side or push it all to the back. Most of the time the subject has a preference and I want the images to best represent them!
And if we’re shooting outside and a gust of wind comes up, I’ll fix it all over again! I’d rather fix during the shoot then try and photoshop a lot of the image afterwards.
Beth Skogen Photography is located in Madison, Wisconsin but is happy to travel. For more information about what to expect during a portrait session, check out this longer blog post.
Let me guess, you hate having your photo taken? It’s okay! I would say most people do, so you’re not alone. I’ve come up with some tips and tricks to hopefully make your portrait session in the Madison area less painful and more of a fun experience! I hope you walk away enjoying being photographed. Who knows! Maybe you’ll want to do it more often!
I have a client who told me she likes to have her photo taken professionally at least once a year for new material to use on social media and because her hair style changes. Some people don’t update their professional photo for years… so many years in fact, they look like a completely different person! You want people to recognize you and remember your business.
Keep in mind that I’m not the photographer for you if you’re looking for a marble, white or colored backdrop for each of your employees. I don’t have a studio and typically don’t use lighting other than my handy reflector. If you’re looking for that style, I can refer you to some incredible photographers in the Madison area. I prefer to showcase your environment behind you or a background that makes sense for you and your business. If you’re struggling to think of what that might be, we’ll brainstorm together and come up with the perfect location(s).
So let’s say you’ve booked a portrait session with me. We have a date, time and location set! I’m either coming to your office or we’re meeting downtown or outside somewhere. What now?
Before the session (what to wear, how to do your hair and make-up):
Wear something that you love and that makes sense for your job industry. If you’re a fitness instructor you would probably wear work-out apparel. If you’re a doctor, you might wear your lab coat. A lawyer or financial advisor would probably wear a suit jacket and tie and/or blouse and suit jacket. Feel free to keep it casual if that fits what you do! Think of all of the ways that you’ll be using these images.
Wear colors that compliment your skin. Navy is always a safe choice for most people. I highly recommend not wearing white to keep the focus on your face.
Stay away from wearing bright/neon colors and super busy patterns. Though, I love a subtle pattern or a pretty floral print. Again, it’s all about you and your style.
Don’t wear big/elaborate jewelry unless that’s a branding choice and the consistent look you rock.
Wear your hair how you usually do. If you go to the salon to get your hair and make-up done professionally, you might look different from how you normally look. I had a client go get her hair and make-up professionally done and she ended up not liking the final images because she didn’t look like herself. You want these images to best represent you!
Feel free to put a little bit more make-up on than what you usually would, but no need to over do it.
Covering up or blotting shine is a good idea. If you use concealer, make sure that it matches your skin tone. With winters in Wisconsin, sometimes the concealer or powder doesn’t match your skin tone compared to the shade of your skin in the summer months.
And lastly, floss.
During the session:
Try to relax.
Don’t tip your head too far down or tip it too far up.
Take breaks from looking and smiling at the camera! Feel free to look away and come back to the lens with a refreshed smile and eyes.
Try to “smize” with your eyes like Tyra says. And think positive thoughts! It’ll lift your eyes and cheeks up. Sometimes I tell my clients to flirt with my lens.
“What do I do with my hands?” I get this a lot, and sometimes it’s a challenge, but we’ll work together and make sure you look comfortable and not awkward with your hands. The next bullet point might help a little as well!
Think about doing something new every 5 seconds … switch your weight to the other leg, turn to the other side, put your hands on your hips, cross your arms, look around, tilt your head the other direction, touch your hair, bring a hand up to your neck or chin, laugh (out loud!), put your hands in your pockets if you have them, look down then look back to the camera…I could keep going! But I’ll stop here.
There are so many options! Don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ll simply just have fun and happen to be taking photos.
Kind words from clients that can be found on Google:
“I absolutely hate getting my picture taken. This experience changed that forever. Beth made me feel so at ease during the session and she got great pictures! I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a cool photographer that makes the whole situation a breeze!” -Helen
“Beth was wonderful to work with! She took me, a nervous camera shy person, and made me comfortable, and the shoot fun, and I am blown away by the photos!” -Martha
“Beth has provided our company with staff head shots and photography for our marketing over the past few years. Each time we get to work with her is a delight. She is flexible, easy to work with, and the end product is always excellent. Beth also provides us with a quick turnaround if we ever need it. We can’t get enough of her!” -Evan
“Beth is professional, charming and does excellent photographic work using natural light. Highly recommend and will definitely use again!” -Melissa
“Our firm recently hired Beth to complete professional headshots for a newly designed website. We were not interested in your traditional, white background shots. She knocked the cover off the ball with the location selection, timely editing, modern feel, and positive attitude. You can tell that Beth LOVES what she does and has fun with every client she works with. Without question she has my business for any updates our firm does over the years.” -Jordan
Beth Skogen is an on location photographer in Madison, Wisconsin, but is happy to travel!
Besides the images showcased on her website, more work can be seen at the following links:
When my dad told the family he’d like to go to a dude ranch in Montana this summer, I have to admit I was a little hesitant. I love the energy of a city, visiting coffee shops, people watching and finding unique restaurants on Instagram to try. I’ve always heard great things about Montana and I’m always up for an adventure! My brothers and sisters live all over the country, so going anywhere all together would always a treat. We met an hour south of Bozeman in the mountains at a place called, Nine Quarter Circle that has been around for over 100 years.
I watched videos online and looked at their website to learn more but it exceeded my expectations once we arrived and spent the week there. The owners and employees were so sweet and accommodating. They would even eat all three meals a day with us at the lodge which was at the top of a hill or 40 steps up to the top. By the end of the week, I was still out of breath getting to the top. Their employees consist of mostly college aged students from all over the world that come to work there from May-September which is the time frame of when they’re open.
This was the schedule for most days: Eat breakfast, two hour horseback ride into the hills, eat lunch, either ride again or fly fish in the afternoon, adult happy hour and then we’d all connect for dinner. My favorite day of all was when we learned how to square dance in the upper part of the barn. They have a caller drive in from Billings, Montana to lead the dance. I’m tempted to find a place to go square dancing in Madison! My second favorite day was driving around in Yellowstone National Park. What a trip.
Typical Beth situation…I didn’t pack nearly what I should have…I didn’t bring a pair of boots (which you need to ride horses), so we stopped to buy a pair after the airport. I rode horses in my Lululemon yoga pants and tank top or my mom’s sweater with a jean jacket and my Machines for Freedom cycling cap (gosh I love it so much!). For those of you who know me, I tend to wear comfortable dresses most summer days. I figured it’d be warm where we were going just like in Wisconsin, and apparently it was 90 degrees there the week before, which I’m so glad it was not. Thankfully my mom packed enough clothes for the two of us. And my niece let me wear he sweatshirt and sweatpants. (Thank you, Madi!!)
I love how my family embraced their inner cowboy/cowgirl. What a great vacation and so much fun to photograph everyone in such a gorgeous setting.
Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps had their first performance in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin last night. Their show is called The Body Celestial and they have these pyramids they carry and wear with mirrors on them. It looked like the field was twinkling because the sun was hitting all of the mirrors.
As they were getting their uniforms on and forming a two lines to walk to the field, they each had a triangle next to them. I was so distracted but the light bouncing everywhere. I took a lot of walking photos! They not only look super cool, but they reflect some really pretty light!!
This is my 13th year photographing Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps, what used to be Shadow Armada and before that, Oregon Marching Band. I was in the snare line for 4 out of my 5 years in the program and my brother remains the percussion coordinator and program director.
I love continuing to be around the program and documenting the kids going through such an amazing experience.
It’s always bittersweet for me to meet up with the group for the first time each summer because while I love being around the members and documenting what they do, I’ve been producing images and video for them for so many years that I struggle with how to make my work better and push myself to do something a little different.
I’m putting this out there so I do it. My goal for this summer is to talk to members more and hear what they’re thinking and feeling through the season. In the past I really try to be as much of a fly on the wall as I can. I’ll do a few interviews at the end of the season and I’ll record audio from rehearsal, use clips from instructions giving an inspirational talk before a show but I want to show more. So there you go. Let’s do this!
These images are from the MACBDA show in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 30, 2018. A storm rolled in during warm up so they actually didn’t end up performing. The next show I’ll be at is the DCI show in Waukesha on Sunday, July 8, 2018.
Meet Otis. He’s a 9-week-old French Bulldog puppy that lives a block from me. How could I not take photos of him?! What a cutie, and he’s already changed a bit since the couple brought him home a week ago.
I hired a photographer to photograph me with my Airedale, Geoffrey when he was a puppy. It was such a great decision! Dogs grow and change so fast that once they’re full grown it’s hard to remember what they were even like as a puppy.
If you know of someone who just brought a puppy home or have had their dog for years and he/she is getting older, it’s a great time to have photos taken of your family together.
I’ve seen Fools’ Flotilla before but have always wanted to participate… this was the year! Thank you River Alliance of Wisconsin for organizing the event. What a blast. Hundreds of people meet other fools from Tenney Park and float/paddle to Yahara Place Park across the Isthmus. There’s music, cheering, squirt guns and lots of laughs. I’m not sure there’s anything else I’d rather do on a Sunday morning!
I loved the three people in the inflatable pool. They were paddling with a wooden spoon, frying pan and hockey stick!? Second favorite were the people lounging on the inflatable couch with a handmade tv. Gosh, are people funny!
I wore my alpaca costume which was too big to turn the camera around on to get a shot of myself, so there’s a few my friend took of me at the end.
The worst part about having a pet is knowing that there will come a time when they’ll leave this world. I’ve been asked a few times to photograph a family with their dog who’s older, including my parents with their 13-year-old Goldendoodle. I think about what it’ll feel like when that day comes to say goodbye. To be able to look back at the images I took of the whole family together … That’s powerful.
Meet Earl. He’s an 8-year-old Labradoodle with cancer who was given only a few weeks left to live. His life has been cut too short.
As I parked and got out of my car, I saw Earl standing outside the house jumping around with his ball, looking happy as can be.
We rescheduled this shoot a few times because of all the rain lately in Madison, Wisconsin. I was so excited that the sun was out and that Earl was running around like nothing was wrong, soaking in all the hugs and kisses his family could give him.
We all knew why I was really there; to capture those moments of them with their loved pup who only has a few weeks left to live. The more I think about it and look at the images, tears trickle down my cheeks.
I didn’t totally notice but during the session, I kept sniffling as I was laying on the grass shooting. “Do you have allergies?” asked the mom. “I don’t. I’m just sad,” I said.